Last month, I wrote about how important it is to have friends at work. If you missed that post, and don’t feel like going back to check it out, let me sum it up: Very. But once we understand that, then what?
When I first started this blog, a few people mentioned their struggle with asking out a coworker. Taking the office friendship out of its natural habitat is tricky business.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered from my own experiences, and those of my friends:
1) Start on a weekday. Weekends are precious, and people like to keep them free of workplace reminders. Until you’re a friend, not just a coworker, don’t infringe on the all-mighty Saturday.
2) A few drinks helps. I know I’ll get flack for this, but the truth is that a glass of wine says “we’re not at work anymore.” It also helps part the looming clouds of professionalism. Loosens you up. This is not to say, obviously, that if you don’t drink you can’t have work friends outside of the office, or that your relationship will be based on alcohol. I’m just saying, throwing back a Miller Lite can help.
3) If there are a few of you that get along, plan a group outing. I’m lucky. I have four best work friends. And they’re not just co-workers I chat with. They’re, like, real-life BFF material. But it took us two years to get there. How did it start? With a group activity. We joined a fitness challenge and started taking Booty Beat classes together after work. Jealous? I know. A friend of mine told me her co-workers do a brunch outing every couple of months. Group activities lack the intensity of one-on-one time.
4) Text message. If you’re calling an officemate during off-hours, there’s a high likelihood your phone call will be screened. On a Saturday night, the last thing a potential office BFF wants to do is to work, or talk about work, or think about work. If you text, “What are you up to? Want to meet up?” She’ll know you’re in the play hard stage.
5) Don’t talk shop. When you get together with a coworker, it’s natural that you’d discuss work. It’s the tie that binds you after all. But when you’re beyond Big Brother’s walls, try to avoid it if you can. At least keep it to a minimum. A little workplace gossip can be fun, but you’ll never build an independent relationship if you can’t get past office politics.
That’s all I got for now. What do you think? Anything I missed? Or that I got completely wrong? Do you have a surefire way to transition from work-friend to life-friend?